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Dear Friends, 

'Engaged with SEC 

My two months of sabbatical is quickly fading as I begin to visit you in your churches, 
work with search committees, engage the fall meeting and program calendar of the 
Conference and Associations. However I am deeply grateful for the sabbatical that 
was truly a time of rest and restoration. The reading and reflection with which I was 
engaged focused on some rummaging around in John Calvin, reading concerning the 
emergent church, and thinking about the future shape of our beloved United Church of 
Christ, and the role of a conference in equipping the local church for a dynamic, if 
somewhat uncertain future. 

There is no doubt in my mind that mainline 
denominationalism is going through a time of 
tremendous change. We will not look like we 
now do in twenty-five years. Many of our 
churches will be either changed or gone, and we 
have already seen the signs of this ground 
swell. Phyllis Tickle compares this time to the 
Reformation in terms of its impact on the church, 
and suggests that the church goes through a 
"rummage sale" every five hundred years, and 
we are in the middle of such a time. The last 
"rummage sale" was the Reformation to which 
we trace our historical roots in the United Church 
of Christ. The church that is taking shape she 
calls "the emergent church". The question to us 
in the Southeast Conference is "how do we rise to the challenge of this emergent 
season, and equip our congregations for living in these times fully and faithfully, and I 
would add, without fear?" 

Q] ID QESi El Ei 


lives v^s^^4y 

Southeast Conference 


UCC News 

UCC Newsroom 

Headlines from the United 
Church of Christ 

All-staff day helps UCC national 
offices staff find new ways to 

More than 100 national staff 
members from Cleveland and 
other U.S. locations gathered 
today at the UCC's national 
headquarters for worship, 
breakout discussions and 
report-backs relating to the 
tasks and transitions involved in 
their work. 


I believe that this conference is uniquely gifted to be a vital and dynamic partner in 
shaping the way in which the UCC is living into its future. Our staff in already engaged 
in conversations about how to attract and shape the kind of leadership that will be 
required for "the living of these days". It is clear to me that we will continue to build 
partnerships not only across the United States, but globally as well in this work. It is 
further clear that we will strengthen our online capacities to communicate, to teach, and 
to meet. We have set a goal of building our conference at a rate of 10% a year in 
growth in numbers of congregations, a goal that is ambitious, but I believe attainable. 

I want to add my thanks to a gifted staff and leadership which was in place during my 
sabbatical time, and who took great measures to protect me from interruptions. And for 
the curious, who want to know how many miles I bicycled over the course of the 
summer, it was, 500 miles... a good beginning. 

Thanks to each of you lay leaders and pastors for your hard work to build our 


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